There are 254 counties in Texas and 11 of them are named for Alamo defenders: Bailey, Bowie, Cochran, Cottle, Crockett, Dickens, Floyd, King, Lynn, Taylor and Travis counties. Floyd County is one such county. It was named for Dolphin Ward Floyd who is believed to have died on his birthday, March 6, 1836, in Santa Anna’s attack on the Alamo. Ward Floyd was born in North Carolina in 1804 and later moved near Gonzales where he worked as a farmer. In 1832, he married the recently widowed Esther Berry House, a mother of three by her first husband Isaac House, who also lived in Texas.
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Bonham, Texas (33°35′2″N 96°10′54″W) is the county seat of Fannin County and is named for James Butler Bonham (1807-1836), one of the defenders who died at the Alamo. He was born to James and Sophia Butler Bonham on February 10, 1807 in Red Banks, South Carolina. Bonham was raised in South Carolina and attended but did not graduate from South Carolina College. He then studied law and began a law practice in South Carolina in 1830 where he would remain until about 1834 when he moved west to Montgomery, Alabama, where the family also had relatives.
Erastus “Deaf” (pronounced “Deef”) Smith was an admirable person in “Texas Rising” and one in which the character of the individual may closely match the one portrayed in the miniseries. His hearing loss was not complete, but was significant after suffering an illness some years prior to the Texas Revolution. In some accounts, it was referred to as “consumption” (most likely, tuberculosis) which may have contributed to his death, though contemporary accounts were not specific as to the actual cause of death. One newspaper account simply read, “His iron frame has sunk under the severe fatigues and exposures to which he has too willingly subjected himself.”
She is the traditional subject of the song “Yellow Rose of Texas” and one of the more compelling characters in the miniseries “Texas Rising” which just completed its debut run on the History Channel. In it, the character has an affair with Mexican General Santa Anna and is occupying his attention leading up to the battle. In addition, she may have had personal motives of revenge that led to her desire to see Santa Anna defeated.
The familiar song does not deal with San Jacinto or Santa Anna. It was composed in the 1800s, although the actual name of the composer is unknown.
Taylor County is considered to be in West Texas and many feel that it is where West Texas begins. It is located northwest of the geographic center of the State. Its county seat from 1878 to 1883 was Buffalo Gap, but since then has been Abilene.